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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week 9/21/2016

Greetings comic book enthusiasts and welcome to another episode of the Crank File. What cranks here, stays here. A couple of store exclusive variants featuring the evil spidey-symbiote made a lot of noise last week. KRS Comics commissioned a badazz cover for Deadpool Bank in Black  by Tyler Kirkham which sold out within hours. Frankie’s Comics announced a Venom variant by the hottest cover artist in the game, Gabrielle Dell’Otto, which sold out within hours without the artwork even being revealed. The variant market has seen some crazy movement in the last decade. There are duds which can be easily picked up at cover price, but the most desirable, high-ratio variants can climb into three figure territory just weeks after release. I have a feeling that these two variant covers have potential to fall into the latter category. The variant bubble will pop eventually, but there’s money to be made in the short term if you know how to place your bets.

It’s a good week for new books, with a lot of my personal favorites not even making the cut. Let’s take a look at what did make it.

Here’s what I’m reading this week:

 

V11

The Top of the Pile: The Vision #11

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Tom King
Art: Gabriel Del Mundo

What it is: The Avengers draw a line in the sand. They tell Vision he is not to cross this line. If he does, they will destroy him. ‘Remember,’ they say. ‘You’re an Avenger. First. Always.’ ‘Stay where you are,’ they say. ‘Don’t cross the line,’ they say. Vision nods. He tells them he understands. Then Vision crosses the line. The end is coming for the most critically acclaimed book of the year, and no one is safe. Don’t miss the issue everyone will be talking about. Also, hail Hydra.

Why we love it: Vision still has my vote for best comic series of the year. Two issues to go before this tragic tale of synth-imitating-life reaches it’s inevitably tragic conclusion. I’ve abandoned all hope of a happy ending, so I’m strapping in and bracing for the G’s. This is going to be train wreck ugly and I can’t look away.

 

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The Mainstream one: Trinity #1

Publisher: DC
Words and Art: Francis Manapul

What it is: ‘BETTER TOGETHER’ part 1! Together again for the first time! Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman. The core of the World’s Greatest Heroes, but with a new Man of Steel, the bonds these three share will be tested and redefined by super-star writer/artist Francis Manapul. In this premiere issue, see the trio travel from Metropolis to Gotham City and beyond to learn what forces launched their heroic careers. But how will this journey of discovery lead them to a new threat?

Why we like it: I’m a big fan of Manapul’s artwork but not all that familiar with his writing. I’ve read some of his work on ‘Tec, so I know at least he can write a good Batman. With DC’s big three under the same roof this is a can’t miss issue. Let’s just hope that it’s more entertaining than BvS.

 

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The Indie One: Black Hammer #3

Publisher: Dark Horse
Words: Jeff Lemire
Art: Dean Ormston

What it is: Long before Spiral City’s greatest heroes were written out of their universe, the Martian champion Barbalien was already stranded far from home. Disguised as churchgoing Mark Markz in the timeless farming community where the heroes find themselves trapped, Barbalien faces a terrifying personal decision, even as he relives his painful past!

Why we like it: Black Hammer is what would happen if the Avengers crash landed on the set of the television series The Prisoner. Jeff Lemire is a master at writing non-superhero, superhero books and Black Hammer is no exception. The scratchy artwork takes some getting used to, but the characters, drama and dialogue are instantly relateable.

 

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The #1 One: Seven to Eternity #1

Publisher: Image
Words: Rick Remender
Art: Jermoe Opena

What it is: The God of Whispers has spread an omnipresent paranoia to every corner of the kingdom of Zhal; his spies hide in every hall spreading mistrust and fear. Adam Osidis, a dying knight from a disgraced house, must choose between joining a hopeless band of magic users in their desperat e bid to free their world of the evil God, or accepting his promise to give Adam everything his heart desires. Writer Rick Remender reteams with collaborators Jermoe Opena and Matt Hollingsworth to take you on a hard road through the strange fantasy world of Zhal. All men have surrendered their freedom for fear. Now, one last free man must choose.

Why we like it: There’s a bunch of DC #1’s out this week, including the aforementioned Trinity and also New Teen Titan alums Cyborg and Raven. But I have a huge man-crush on Rick Remender and will always pick up the first issue of any series that he’s writing just to hear what one of the best voices in comics has to say. I can’t say that the description did much for me, but Remender and Opena are a creative dream team and Seven to Eternity will definitely be towards the top of Wednesday’s stack.

 

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The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Harley Quinn #4 (Sienkiewicz variant)

Publisher: DC
Words: Amanda Connor
Art: Joseph Linser
Cover art: Bill Sienkiewicz

What it is: ‘108 MILLION WAYS TO DIE!’ Even though she hates to leave Coney Island as it rebuilds after the zombie apocalypse, Harley must set out on a journey that will take her around the world-and into the clutches of a bizarre robotic enemy! Too bad her Mecha-Harley suit didn’t fit in the overhead bin?

Why we like it: Harley and Ivy, comic book fans’ favorite BFFs with benefits.

 

That’s all I got this week.  Until next time, carpe comics!

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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week 12/23/2015

Happy holidays comic book fans. This time of year always get crazy hectic and a light week of new books is a welcome relief from too much yuletide spirit. Christmas came early for geek nation as the new Star Wars movie launched to almost universal acclaim. The Force Awakens death starred all previous records for opening weekend box office sales and the world breathed a communal sigh of relief. There’s no real secret recipe at work here, it’s a beloved franchise that consistently delivers high-quality product to its rabid fan base.

Here’s what I’m reading this week.

 

The Top of the Pile: The Dark Knight Returns III #2 (Jim Lee Variant)

 

 

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Publisher: DC

Words: Frank Miller

Art: Andy Kubert

DKIII #1 delivered a strong premiere issue for the miniseries. The action and storytelling felt focused and the shocking ending to issue #1 promises a completely original Bat story and I’m totally in for the ride. Spoilers ahead if you haven’t read DKIII #1 and you plan on reading this series at some point. Do not read the following description and avoid looking at the regular cover to issue #2 if you don’t want to ruin the surprise.

The unexpected finale to the Dark Knight saga continues as Carrie Kelly gets caught…that is, she finds herself…she gets into—well, you’re just going to have to read it yourself.

 

 

The Mainstream One:  Darth Vader #14

 

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Publisher: Marvel

Words: Kieron Gillen

Art: Salvador Larocca

VADER DOWN, PART FOUR Han & Luke take on Vader’s forces…and more? Meanwhile…Leia makes a hard decision.

Unquestionably, Star Wars rules the pop-culture galaxy. Need proof? Currently, Marvel’s Star Wars comics franchise accounts for about 10% of all comics sold each month. Darth Vader is my favorite Star Wars comic series out now, and the whole gang is reunited as the Vader Down crossover approaches critical mass.

 

 

The Indie One:  Saga #32

 

s32

Publisher: Image

Words: Brain K. Vaughan

Art: Fiona Staples

Marko and Alana learn something.

No surprise to anyone, Saga is back with a new arc and back in my pull pile. This modern space opera continues to be my hands down favorite ongoing series.

 

 

The #1 One: Patsy Walker Hellcat #1 (Sophie Campbell variant)

 

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Publisher: Marvel

Words: Kate Leth

Art: Brittney Williams

Patsy Walker has managed to escape her past, her enemies and Hell itself (literally), but nothing compares to job hunting in New York City! Between trying to make rent and dodging (literal) bullets, Patsy barely has time to deal with her mother’s exploitative romance comics about her childhood resurfacing, much less how they start to interfere with her work and dating life. As she goes from living a double life to a triple, what the Hell is Patsy Walker supposed to do? Raise your (literal) claws for Patsy Walker, AKA Hellcat!

Actress Rachael Taylor’s depiction of Patsy Walker on the Netflix Jessica Jones show helped revitalize this classic character with an all-new, all-different kind of vibe. Digging this Campbell variant, even though it’s not by that Campbell.   

 

 

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Superman #47 (Harley’s Little Black Book variant)

SM47

Publisher: DC

Words: Gene Luen Yang

Art: Howard Porter

Cover Art: Lee Bermejo

What would happen if the powers of all of Superman’s foes were contained in one villain? You’ll find out when you meet the Amalgam of Composite Superman Foes-and this is one nightmare a semi-powered Man of Steel may not survive! Join series writer Gene Luen Yang and guest artist Howard Porter for an unforgettable new epic! This issue features open-to-order variant covers by Lee Bermejo that will be shipped in opaque polybags.

I think the cover speaks for itself.

 

The Speculation One: New Avengers #4

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Publisher: Marvel

Words: Al Ewing

Art: Gerardo Sandoval

Out beyond the nether dark lurks… Moridun, Master Magus of the Fifth Cosmos! He’s not just an evil wizard – he’s an evil Space Wizard! But when the space dust settles, who will be… the King of Space? Seriously, everything’s cooler in space. How cool will the New Avengers be in space? THEY WILL BE PRETTY COOL!

The first appearance of a new cosmic villain, Moridun, a character who looks suspiciously similar to the classic Lovecraftian nightmare, Cthulhu.

 

 

Carpe Comics!

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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week 12/2/2015

Welcome back comic book fans, for another helping of the Crank File. It’s the week after Thanksgiving folks and if you were like me, you emerged from your food induced coma just long enough to snag some sweet deals over the weekend. This past Saturday was also Local Comic Shop Day, and I was fortunate enough to have one the shops in my area participating. And then it was Cyber Monday. It was an embarrassment of riches, or brokeness as it were, and there’s still the North East Comic Con coming up this weekend where I plan to meet George Perez and have him to sign some books. To cap it all off, it’s shaping up to be an unexpectedly huge week for new books. So take a deep breath, close your eyes and don’t think about next month’s credit card statement. ‘Tis the season.

Here’s what I’m reading this week:

 

The Top of the Pile: We Can Never Go Home #5

 

WCNGH5

Publisher: Black Mask
Words: Patrick Kindlon
Art: Josh Hood

All roads end.

We Can Never Go Home is not only the hottest indie comic at the moment, it could be the best comic series of 2015, period. The popularity of this series alone has carved out a spot on comic shop shelves for Black Mask books. Originally only given a five issue mini-series, WCNGH has been extended to an ongoing because the fans demanded it. Pay close attention here, we’re witnessing comic history.

 

The Mainstream One: Totally Awesome Hulk #1 Woo Chul Lee variant

 

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Publisher: Marvel
Words: Greg Pak
Art: Frank Cho

There’s a brand new Hulk in town, and his name is Amadeus Cho! Get ready for the craziest Hulk story of the millennium as a kid genius decides he’s gonna be the best Hulk ever — and just possibly brings the entire Marvel Universe crashing down into chaos! Totally awesome beach day! Massive monster mayhem! She-Hulk and Lady Hellbender! Massive heart and ridiculous action brought to you by Planet Hulk writer Greg Pak and superstar artist Frank Cho! Is it possible for us to fit in one more exclamation point? YES!

I want so badly for this character to be good. When I first heard who the creative team was behind the relaunch of Hulk in the new Marvel universe, I was delighted. Greg Pak wrote the classic Hulk tale, Planet Hulk, and Frank Cho’s art is outrageous. When I learned that Hulk was going to be Asian, I was pretty much over the moon. When I saw Hulk’s faux-hawk and read “Totally Awesome” in the title, doubts started creeping in. Hulk conflicted…

 

The Indie One: X’ed #1

 

X1

Publisher: Black Mask
Words: Tony Patrick
Art: Ayhan Hayarula

A sci-fi thriller about a next-gen form of psychiatry: ‘subliminal hitmen’ injected into your mind who hunt down and kill the demons that haunt you. Ex-military sharpshooter Colin McClure is Mezign Corporation’s most recent recruit for the still-experimental (and often deadly) job of subliminal hitman. McClure is the perfect candidate for two reasons: a) he’s a killing machine, and b) he lost his legs in the war, so subliminal-ops are his only way to see any action. But he’s also a dangerous candidate for one reason unknown to Mezign: Colin’s true motive is to enter the mind of his catatonic daughter and bring her out of a coma.

I’m still waiting for the next big thing from those wizards over at Black Mask studios. Could it be X’ed? The premise sounds absolutely bizarre. You know a story is bonkers when they have to break the synopsis out into bullet points. The preview looked interesting enough and right now I’m picking up every Black Mask #1 that comes out.

 

The #1 One: Robin Wars #1

 

RW1

Publisher: DC
Words: Tom King
Art: Khary Randolph

In part 1 of this new epic, it’s Robins vs. cops! Robins vs. Robins! Robins vs. Batman! And Robins vs. the Court of Owls?! Damian Wayne returns to Gotham City, and he is not happy. There are kids all over the city calling themselves Robin, Bruce Wayne is no longer Batman and the GCPD, led by the new, armored-up Batman, is cracking down on anybody wearing the ‘R.’ And things only get worse when Red Hood, Red Robin and Grayson all come back to Gotham City…

In the Batman hierarchy, it goes Batman, Joker and then Robin. In the New 52 continuity where Batman has amnesia and Joker is “dead”, the Robins are stepping up and running the town. Strange things are going down in Gotham. I’m hoping that this Robin Wars event will eventually tie into Bruce Wayne getting back under the cowl.

 

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Harley’s Little Black Book #1 J. Scott Campbell variant

HLBB1a

Publisher: DC
Words and Art: Amanda Conner

It’s the sensational debut of a bimonthly, overstuffed, oversized team-up series in which Harley meets (and almost certainly annoys) the greatest heroes and villains of the DC Universe! First up? The incredible Wonder Woman! There’s a plot to assassinate Wondy, and Harley is convinced that only she could possibly stop it! (Hey, you want to tell her about all the other options? We tried.) This issue features open-to-order variant covers by J. Scott Campbell that will be shipped in opaque polybags.

Taking a page out of the Sex Criminals playbook, Harley’s Little Black Book will feature a variant version that comes sealed in an opaque polybag.  Each bagged copy will contain one of three versions of the variant cover: a regular color version, a black and white ink variant or a blue-line sketch variant. Campbell draws some of the hottest women in comics today and I don’t believe he’s ever done a Harley cover before. This one is a beauty.

 

The Speculation One: Daredevil #1

 

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Publisher: Marvel
Words: Charles Soule
Art: Ron Garney

Back in black and on his home turf, Daredevil begins again in New York City as a new enemy emerges. Meanwhile his alter ego, Matt Murdock, is on a new side of the law in the District Attorney’s office. Fighting crime in the shadows, prosecuting bad guys in the light, it’s a whole new chapter for our man without fear-including the arrival of the devil’s advocate. Welcome to Hell, Blindspot.

Charles Soule is an immensely talented writer and I have high hopes for his Daredevil run. Daredevil is already super popular due to the success of his Netflix series, but I think that this book could have spec potential because it features the first appearance of a new villain, Blindspot, aka Samuel Chun, who also happens to be featured prominently on the regular cover. I rest my case.

 

Carpe Comics!